Order of events for practice start up

I am about to embark on setting up a practice and I am aware of the various criteria required to gain a licence such as registering with data protection etc. This all seems a bit 'chicken and the egg' though as need to register in order to get a licence but it is useless if I am unsuccessful with the licence application. Is there a best practice guide (a tick box list) of the best order to go about gaining the licence?

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Answers

  • carolinenealcarolineneal Nr YorkPosts: 3Registered
    Hi David

    I am about to start the process myself, looking at going self employed and setting up my own practice. Have you received any further information that you can share?
    I have started to complete the licence application form and have got no further at the moment.
    What are the steps you have taken?

    Kind regards
    Caroline
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi Caroline

    I have found out bits of information in various things with my main queries still around software and what to do first in setting up?

    How are you finding things? Do you have a practice background?

    I am happy to share any info I have and would welcome any advice info that you have too. As we are seemingly at the same stage of setting up our business I think we could both benfit from bouncing ideas, experiences and info off each other as we go through the process?

    Let me know your thoughts.

    Kind Regards

    David
  • carolinenealcarolineneal Nr YorkPosts: 3Registered
    Hi David

    Thank you for your reply.

    I need to really start to focus on this, my main priority at the moment is to submit the licence application. Have you done that yet? Any idea how long it takes for an outcome?

    I do not have a practice background, I have been in industry for all my accounting career, therefore I will be focusing mainly on that as a sole trader.

    As I don't have a practice background I am very unsure about software. I do work closely with out company auditors so I am going to ask them for advice.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Kind regards

    Caroline
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi Both

    I have not sent my application yet, but I will be sending out hoping to be granted licence for areas bookkeeping, tax returns and VAT returns. Can I ask you both what areas you are looking to apply for?

    As you say Susan there seems to be some issues around the 'Practice Management' area of the licence, so will be interested to hear back from you. I'll keep my fingers crossed it is positive news for you.

    Can I ask how you have considered pricing at this stage? Will you be working full time for your practice? I am thinking about carrying on in my current role initially with the set up on the side.

    I would also be very interested in what the auditors say with regard to systems.....this area seems to be so varied...and potentially costly.

    As always any help is useful.

    Kind Regards

    David
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi
    I am looking to offer bookkeeping, VAT, Payroll and Computer Systems set up and Budgeting.

    I am currently employed by 2 separate businesses currently doing all of the above and more. It is my intention to continue this way and run the practice as a side venture for now.

    I have 2 potential clients and have priced an hourly rate until I get a better idea of how things run and how efficient they are with their record keeping. I have trawled through loads of forums with how to price things and can't quite find a right or wrong way to go about this. IE pricing by the hour or fixed monthly fee.

    With regards to software everyone has their own which I could access if need be at home. So haven't really looked into this but I would be going for something fairly cheap and cloud based if it comes to it.

    I have been using Sage for years and therefore this would be my first choice depending on price.

    I will let you both know when I receive a response.

    Regards
    Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi

    Have you had any news on your application, I am about to send mine in next week or so.

    Thanks

    Dave
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi
    No not received anything yet. I felt as if I would have heard by now as they took the payment almost immediately. Hopefully not too much longer to wait.

    Susan
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi

    By the way forgot to ask. How are you going to approach the pricing situation and do you have any clients. How are you going to promote yourself to get more clients. I know many say its word of mouth and so far I have found that is true as my potentials have come off the back of my other work.

    Regards
    Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi

    With regard to pricing I have taken guidance from the AAT course for setting up a new business (I would recommend as only £50.00 for members). In summary either fixed or hourly is appropriate as best suits your needs, and be confident in charging market rates. An AAT member also runs an annual survey of pricing across practitioners, see below links.

    current year results here - http://bit.ly/1WiA1SZ
    2015 results here - http://bit.ly/1FnnJj9

    These were useful. Let me know if link does not open and I will sent PDF version.

    In answer to how I am going to gain clients....a bit of everything really. Trial and error initially for sure. I have passed ACCA and when I put this up on facebook several sole traders I knew contacted me expressing interest for tax returns etc.

    On from this I will look to have my own website, facebook page and hopefully word of mouth. I will also look to go to trade conferences such as hairdressing, builders etc, many of whom will require bookkeeping, accounting services.

    I do think this area is one of 'see what works' as I go along. Probably also the fun bit of setting up the business.

    Again I think it would be very useful to bounce ideas and experiences in this area as we go along, saving us possible money and time in our marketing, if that is ok with you?

    A query I have with the application now is the area requiring 'practice continuation' if something happened that I were unable to assist the clients. Can I ask what you put in your application relating to this?

    Also I am concerned about what to put in the 'practice management' area as although I have an awareness of the areas I may not have direct experience in them. This part seems very open ended.

    Thanks again.

    David
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi David
    I have looked at the annual survey as well as checking out http://www.bookkeepers.network/ the forum has lots of pricing questions on.

    With regards to practice continuation I have basically stated that I will have fewer than 6 clients to start with. Although I have been in touch with someone on this site who is local to me and they have just started up on their own, so there would be a possibility of getting together should the need arise. I would check the directory and contact people local to you who could possibly help if you exceed 6 clients.

    I also have a facebook page although I am not a great fan and don't have many facebook friends. :) Need to sort that out sooner rather than later as there are some quite good local groups and I have noticed a few posts looking for bookkeepers etc.

    I am half way through setting up my own website but I just keep dropping in and out of that as it has been mentioned that they don't generate much in the way of new clients.

    With regard to the practice management areas I just filled in the parts that I had knowledge of IE Data Protection etc. As things like engaging clients I have had no experience in, although I am sure it will be pretty straight forward.

    Let's keep in touch and see how things progress.

    Good Luck with your application.

    Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Thanks and good luck with yours. Let me know how you get on.

    Dave
  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterPosts: 1,336Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant


    I am half way through setting up my own website but I just keep dropping in and out of that as it has been mentioned that they don't generate much in the way of new clients.

    Susan,

    Not sure where you found this but if done correctly websites can generate lots of clients. Mine generates me around 10 enquiries per month when combined with a decent Google adwords campaign.

    I am predominantly accounts and tax work as opposed to bookkeeping.

    All I'm saying is don't write it off.

    Good luck with everything
    Regards,

    Burg
    charlenebblisajayne1
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi

    Burg thanks for info I am not dismissing the website idea, it's just taking me a while to get the correct set up as I want something quite plain and easy on the eye. I have looked at some and they have way too much info on them. Then they begin to look messy and unprofessional.

    Update on application, it has been 3 weeks since I sent it off and they took the money from my account in the first week! So today I rang and have been told that they have a lot of applications to go through and it will be at least another 10 days. I am hoping that it is approved otherwise I will not be happy that they have taken the payment, it seems an odd way of going about things. You would have thought that the application would be approved before they took any payment.

    Regards
    Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi

    Yes it is an odd way to go about things, but at a conference they confirmed that they took payment and refunded if not successful.

    Burg - would you recommend getting a professional in to set up the web site in order to help getting to top of google searches etc?

    Thanks

    Dave
  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterPosts: 1,336Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    @Davidbyworth - We did use a professional to create ours originally. I then made various changes as they became uncontactable. I recently had to make some further changes which were beyond me so used a professional to get those changes made.

    Ultimately it can be done yourself and if you do enough research you can do a good job. The website ultimately has to be 3 things. Clear, easy to navigate and functional. The big thing then is if you drive traffic there by running an Adwords campaign are they going to contact you? Why would they?

    The adwords campaign can be done by doing lots of research. I've never used professional help and it has gained me plenty of clients. There are many key points to learn and utilise such as the demographics to target, negative keywords, geographical targeting.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • GemworGemwor Posts: 11Registered
    @Dieselberry - I too rang aat today about licence application and was told they are generally turned around in 10 days - I think I'll ignore that based on your experience so far
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    @charlenebb Hi out of interest what site did you use to set up your website and did you find it fairly straight forward.
    Thanks
    Susan
  • charlenebbcharlenebb Settling In Nicely Posts: 38Registered
    Hi I used visit print. It took me a while to figure it out. But its about £8 a month and I usually go in and update it. I haven't got round to paying a professional yet and I think some firms charge around £500 pounds or more.
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi
    Just to let you all know I received an email today say my licence has been approved and I should receive my practise certificate within 3 weeks. I can however start trading immediately. :) So it's taken about 4 weeks all together. I have contacted someone to create a website for me and I am now ready to go ahead with that.

    Good Luck to everyone who has applied. Onwards and upwards

    Susan
    GemworburgMarieNoelle
  • GemworGemwor Posts: 11Registered
    Congratulations Susan! :)
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Congratulations. So they were happy with the practice management area. Great news for you. I will be looking to get mine off shortly. Be good to keep in touch on how things are progressing for you.
    Gemwor
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi Susan

    With regard to your application - did you purchase PII, Date protection registration and your AML fee prior to your application? I am just worried I may pay out on these and then not actually be successful.

    Thanks

    Dave
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi Dave

    I got the AML through AAT and paid for that with the application. Last week I received an email from AAT saying they needed further info on my application and they asked g for a copy of my PII so I had to buy that and send over the certificate. Still need to sort out the Data protection.

    Cheers Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi Susan

    I hope things are going well post granting of the license.

    With regard to the AAT online resources once licensed member - have you found the information useful. I believe they have templates such as engagement letters and checklists of all areas to consider?

    Thanks

    Dave
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi Dave

    I have had a quick look and there is a lot of stuff to go through. To be honest I have not had a great deal of time to go through it all, as I have been busy setting up a website and advertising.

    I am going to have a break now and return to pushing it after Christmas as it can be quite time consuming.

    Did you put your application in?

    Regards
    Susan
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Thanks

    I haven't sent it off yet due to work commitments, however I hope to get it sent off before Christmas as I want to start looking for clients in the new year.

    Kind Regards

    Dave
  • DavidbyworthDavidbyworth Posts: 39Registered
    Hi

    Happy New Year

    Licence application sent off so fingers crossed.

    Have you had chance to look at the AAT online resources?

    Dave
  • DieselberryDieselberry Posts: 21Registered
    Hi
    Happy New Year to you. I still have only skimmed through the AAT online resources. Setting up website and trying to set up free adverts has taken a long time. Preparing for meeting with potential new client also has taken a lot of time as I want to get things right. I am sure things will get easier in time.

    Researching software has also taken up a lot of time.

    Let me know how you get on with your application.

    Regards
    Susan
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